Dave Scotts Diary
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Introduction to David Scott’s website

Whilst looking through my father’s personal belongings following his death in April 2004, I came across a notebook of his. On the front cover he’d written: “David Scott - Diary of my Time as a P.O.W. During 1944 -1945”

On the inside cover was written: “whilst a P.O.W. in Germany in 1944, I wrote a diary of my experiences, as it was written in pencil it faded badly, so I decided to try and write a fair copy. This is it, plus later notes.”
August 1999

Reading through the diary for the first time, I was struck by a number of things. For example, the page-turning quality of the storyline, the wonderful detail and the vividly described cameo accounts woven into the bigger story. Above all for me, however, is the overriding matter of fact account of extraordinary times told in a straightforward and unassuming way - all of this coupled with the portrayal of courageous young men who repeatedly took off in planes, not knowing if they would return.

My father very rarely talked about the war, which I’m told is quite usual for ex-combatants. He did, however, tell me a couple of stories towards the end of his life, which I subsequently read, in his wartime diary.

Although my father had never, to my knowledge, expressed a wish that his war time diary should be published, I was so moved by his account that I decided that others should be able to read it. The people I thought would be interested in reading my fathers account were any existing family members of the Canadian crew of the Lancaster bomber my father bailed out of (all other crew members were killed), as well as fellow prisoners of war he described and gave rank and home addresses for. Finally, of course, there are academic researchers and those individuals fascinated by the period of history and aviation details my father wrote about, particularly those with a keen interest in the RAF and Lancaster bombers.

For me an extremely poignant aspect of my father’s accounts are his descriptions of the friendship and comradeship which existed between those he met along the way, particularly the Lancaster crew and his friend Denny who together endured terrible deprivations on what became known as the POW ‘Death March’ across Lower Silesia - now Poland.

An important thing to realize about my father is that for as long as I can remember my father never glorified war in any way. In fact he often remarked how he believed war was a form of madness promoted by politicians and generals. I think this attitude was partly brought about by seeing for himself the devastation caused by allied bombers to German towns and cities. It’s not surprising therefore that from the outset he was vehemently opposed to the war in Iraq and often spoke out against it.

I hope you find my father’s account of interest. If nothing else it tells an intriguing story which once started you will want to finish.

My thanks go to Caroline Crew and Pamela Sharpe, work colleagues who, in their own time, word processed my father’s handwritten POW diary and associated accounts. Also my thanks go to my friend Carol Mee who lightly edited the final drafts. I’d also like to thank my partner Sandra Barker who checked passages of text for me and allowed me to commandeer her laptop on several occasions. Finally my thanks go to my good friend, Paul Bamford, who researched old Polish place names for me.

I’m indebted to the Poland Poland website forum that helped identify some of the new or reverted Polish place names given to former German towns and villages on the march across German-occupied Silesia. I wanted to do this to allow those interested in the route of the march to identify at least some of the places my father and the other POWs passed through as their German guards drove them forward ahead of the advancing Russian army.

I particularly wanted to make it a web-based account, rather than in printed form, to allow immediate access to families and friends of all those he mentions, particularly those of the ill-fated Lancaster bomber crew and fellow prisoners of war that reside throughout the world.

My final thanks go to my father and all those he describes in his diary. It strikes me that during a dreadful time in the world’s history and amidst a set of circumstances they remained cheerful and resolute - admirable qualities in the face of great adversity and personal qualities that seem to me less prevalent now than in times long past.

Craig Scott - David’s son, June 2007